The Coalition on Human Needs, working with Public News Service, is telling the stories of communities and families that are benefiting from the Child Tax Credit expansion. Here are seven stories that have been produced in the past eight days.
The Pandemic of the Unvaccinated edition. New COVID-19 infections are on the rise in all 50 states, in some cases sharply. The Delta variant is flourishing, racing through the bodies of the unvaccinated, particularly in Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana, where most people have not received their shots, and in Florida, which critics say opened up too fully and too quickly. In Arkansas, where only 44.5 percent are fully vaccinated, there are 38 new cases per 100,000 residents. Contrast that with Vermont, with its 77.3 percent vaccination rate and just two cases per 100,000 residents.
Last week’s ruling from U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen of Texas bars the government from approving applications from future DACA applicants. It does not, however, immediately affect nearly 650,000 who currently have DACA protection. Still: it highlights the legal uncertainty facing these individuals, many of whom do not even remember their original country because they left it at such an early age. And it is a stark reminder that the only solution for DACA recipients – and others such as Temporary Protected Status holders, farm workers, and other essential workers – is immigration reform in Congress.
CHN’s latest Voices for Human Needs Podcast discusses the investments in paid leave and child care with advocate Joy Spencer, the Executive Director of Equity Before Birth, a member of MomsRising, and a single mother of a three-year-old. During our conversation, Joy shares how she is channeling her lived experiences as a working mother to advocate on behalf of improving health outcomes for Black mothers and their children in addition to expanding access to affordable child care options and paid leave opportunities for all working parents.
During the recent congressional recess, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) traversed his state, speaking with families about the new Child Tax Credit. A mother told Brown that because she now will be able to afford child care, she is returning to work full time. Another mother said she is going to save for her daughter’s future education. A father said he is sending his boy to summer camp for the first time ever. And another parent said their daughter will now be able to play fast-pitch softball because the family can afford to purchase the equipment, for the first time.
Advocates for working families in Wisconsin say it goes beyond cutting poverty rates. They say it will remove a lot of monthly budget pressure for scores of households. The tax credit, expanded under the American Rescue Plan, includes monthly payments of $250 to $300 for each child through the end of the year. The Coalition on Human Needs said nearly 1.2 million Wisconsin children will benefit from the overall expansion, and 46,000 kids will be lifted out of poverty. But advocates warn it’s just a temporary increase, and there are repeated calls to make it permanent.
The door-to-door-vaccination-drive edition. As of Thursday, 605,000 Americans have died of COVID-19. The CDC estimates that the more dangerous Delta variant now makes up a majority of new cases in the U.S. 67.1 percent of adults have at least one vaccine dose; 58.3 percent are fully vaccinated. The U.S. has been averaging fewer than 15,000 new cases a day for nearly a month. In recent days, however, the average number of new cases has started to trend slightly upward, driven largely by localized outbreaks in places with low vaccination rates, including parts of Missouri, Arkansas, and Nevada.
With a federal moratorium set to expire in a matter of weeks, the Biden Administration, state and local officials, and housing advocates are scrambling to avoid what could soon be the biggest eviction crisis in U.S. history. Although the order provided a certain amount of protection for a time, the moratorium did nothing to help renters whose accumulated debt has grown larger and larger during the pandemic. Estimates vary as to how many American households are behind on their rent, but most experts put the number somewhere between 8 million and 13 million. Many of the estimated 30 million people living in these households will be at risk of eviction in a few short weeks.
The new Annie E. Casey Foundation KIDS COUNT Data Book is out and there is good news and bad news – and a strong recommendation that Congress make the Child Tax Credit expansion permanent. This year’s report found that between 2010 and 2019, children improved nationally in 11 out of 16 areas, essentially stayed the same in four areas, and fell further behind in one area – low birth weights. But the report comes with a major, fundamental caveat: the Foundation warns that nearly a decade of progress after the Great Recession could be erased by the COVID-19 pandemic unless policymakers act boldly to sustain the beginnings of a recovery.
In our second episode of the Voices for Human Needs Podcast, hear from national policy advocates about what is at stake for children and families, the importance of making the Child Tax Credit expansion permanent, and actions you can take to join the fight to reduce child poverty across the country.
Earlier this week, social media activists, advocates for children and families with low incomes, religious leaders, local and state governments, elected officials and even a few famous celebrities joined the White House in a major, more-or-less coordinated push to publicize the Child Tax Credit (CTC).
“President Biden did the nation a vital service in proposing his American Jobs and Families Plans. Taken together these two plans represent a comprehensive approach to setting our nation on a course of sustainable, shared economic progress. A narrow approach that repairs and modernizes our physical infrastructure without strengthening our people’s health and economic security is not sufficient. It will not provide the resources to enable parents to raise their children out of poverty, for young and older adults to be able to secure good jobs, and for retirees and people with disabilities to be able to live in their communities with the care they need. Nor will it sufficiently address pernicious inequities by race, immigrant status, and income.